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Craving and Ego… Simple As That

Vipassana Meditation Master

Acharavadee Wongsakon

To know whether we have made any progress in meditation practice, we have to see two things in our mind; craving and ego. Craving means desire that instantly comes to the mind when triggered. If the impurities (the Impurity Force) remain strong, they can stir our mind to think of having something. Even if it’s just for fun, it shows that we are not mindful enough, so the impurities can take over at that certain moment.

Over ten years ago before I practiced Techo Vipassana, I felt peaceful inside during the practice when I attended a meditation course. But my mind kept wandering during the break…I thought about the design of the new jewelry collection, a new business like a small restaurant that might be fun, and so on…

Then, as the bell rang, I thought, “I have to go purify my mind now. I’ll get back to this later.”

Oh! I didn’t even know that I was talking to the impurities inside my mind.

Years later, I came to realize that I allowed those impurities to deceive me. Although I could get rid of deepseated anger, I didn’t know that I was lured into another thing; it’s delusional pleasure. At that time, there was no one to remind me to follow a rule which is the most important thing that I keep telling my students; always be mindful and composed throughout the course.

By practicing Techo Vipassana, I had substantially burned down the impurities, with craving and ego gradually weakened. As a result, I can accept things as they are and do my duties accordingly. When Dhamma wisdom finally appeared, my mind could perceive the Noble Truth.

There was a time when I went on a long practice in seclusion, I strongly determined to meditate, let go of everyone and everything for a while, only focusing on the body and mind until the last day of the practice. It was when I had to return home that I remembered I have a family.

When I reached home, my mind shifted from the meditation mode to the family mode instantly. I returned to family life, to be a mother without the need to adjust my mind at all. It has become natural. On top of that, I’m more compassionate to everyone in the family and always try to support them along the path to liberation.

I always tell my students that during the meditation retreat, they have to cut themselves off from the world. If they keep thinking about their families, their minds can never be liberated. To attain the stage of Enlightenment, we must be in the present moment. We can’t set the target or the time to reach Nirvana because that is craving. It’s indeed about perseverance. Students of Techo Vipassana who made progress in their practice had to purify their minds for hours days and nights. When they could let go of their craving and ego, their minds attained equanimity. At that moment, their minds became very light, then rose up high, reaching a stage of Enlightenment.

The material world and spiritual world are at the opposite poles. As Vipassana meditators, we must train our minds to stay beyond the mundane world. We must be mindful, look into ourselves to see whether craving and ego are weakened. If we are still overwhelmed by craving and ego, we have to find out why. If other people have improved through this practice, so can we. Don’t be fooled by the impurities that the practice can be up and down because it’s impermanent. That’s totally misconception.

If you are still full of ego and craving, it has nothing to do with impermanence, but caused by the lack of discipline in the practice. As long as you still breathe, you must keep going and never give up. Once you completely get rid of craving, you will be free from the cycle of rebirth.

It’s as simple as that.

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